One day, a man of the State of Chu was crossing a river by boat.
Due to carelessness, his sword which hung at his side fell into the water.
Not in the least worried, he slowly took out a small knife and cut a mark on the side of the boat.
Someone on the boat asked him: "Why don't you jump into the water at once to fish for your sword?
What's the use of making this mark on the side of the boat?"
He pointed to the mark on the side of the boat, saying unhurriedly:
"There is no need to worry. My sword fell into the river at this marked place.
As soon as the boat reaches the dock and pulls in to shore,
I will jump down from here to retrieve my sword."
The King of Jin said: "The round jade from Chuiji is an heirloom from my ancestors.
The fine steed from Qudi is a great favorite of mine.
If the King of Yu accepted our gifts, yet would not give us permission, what shall we do then?"
Xun Xi replied: "That is not likely.
If the King of Yu does not consent to give us permission, he certainly dares not accept our gifts.
If he accepts our gifts and gives us permission, that will be like moving the round jade from the storehouse inside to the storehouse outside, and the fine horse from the stable inside to the stable outside. Why should you worry?"
Sure enough, the King of Yu, coveting the round jade and the fine horse, was ready to give permission.
At this moment, his high official Gong Ziqi quickly stepped forward to dissuade him, saying:
"You shouldn't give your consent! The State of Guo is our neighbour.
Its relation with us is just like that of the lips with the teeth.
If the lips are gone, the teeth will be cold.
If we give permission to let the State of Jin invade the State of Guo, then when the latter is subjugated, will our state still be safe?
That absolutely won't do!"
The King of Yu did not listen to Gong Ziqi's advice and consented to the request of the State of Jin.
Soon, Xun Xi led his forces and conquered the State of Guo.
Three years later, the State of Jin conquered the State of Yu, too.
Carrying the round jade and leading the fme horse, Xun Xi returned in triumph and gave them back to the King of Jin.
Immensely pleased, the King of Jin smiled and said:"The round jade remains the same; only the fine steed has aged a bit."